How many different sensors are packed into your smartphone? It can detect acceleration, magnetic heading, gravity, and sometimes even atmospheric pressure. With so many sensors at our disposal, there are no shortage of apps looking to turn all that raw data into useful info – sometimes in ways the manufacturer may not have even anticipated, like co-opting 3D Touch to turn your smartphone into a makeshift scale. This week we learn of a new trick Google’s search app has picked up, one that lets you use your phone as a bubble (spirit) level, without the need for any external app.
All you’ve got to do is search for the term “bubble level” (or “spirit level”) and Google will deliver a card featuring a functional level among its search results.
In the screencap you see above, we’re using the phone in an upright position, useful for checking the edge of something like a photo frame, but the feature works just as well when you place your phone on a flat surface – in that case, it switches from a 1D to a 2D level, helping you out with tasks like adjusting the legs on a table.
Is it the most accurate thing in the world? Well, that’s going to depend on a few factors, including the shape of your phone – and a lot of models have edges that are both dotted with button protrusions and a bit curved to begin with. That said, some preliminary tests we put the feature through suggest it’s pretty consistent between handsets; if you’re in a pinch, give it a shot!